the complete animated, annotated guide to ableton live shortcuts - osx

1. showing & hiding views 

live's gui is how you interact with your music, so naturally it's important. while the minimalist layout is generally clean, sleek, & intuitive, you'll doubtless find plenty of circumstances in which you'll want to change some elements on the fly. don't fiddle about with mouse clicks - these keyboard shortcuts have got you covered.

toggle full screen mode: ctrl + cmd + f

ableton live shortcut OS X mac fullscreen showing & hiding views

I'm a big fan of using fullscreen in osx. you can eliminate distractions & make full use of your screen's real estate. with live's built-in browser, you'll have full access to the relevant files on your computer while maintaining focus on the music.

toggle second window: cmd + shift + w

ableton live shortcut toggle second window mac OS X how to

even if you're not using a second display, it can be useful to create a second screen in live. you can use a giant piano roll to edit midi or monitor an expanded mixer while having full view of your track's arrangement.

toggle session/arrangement view: tab

tab ableton live shortcut

this is an obvious one & one you probably use quite often. even if you stick to arrangement mode, you might find it useful to switch to session mode now & again to monitor your track with an expanded mixer section.

toggle device/clip view: shift + tab

toggle device/clip view best ableton shortcut

this is probably one of the most used shortcuts in live. when in full edit mode, you'll probably find your left hand resting on the shift & tab keys, rapidly switching between adjusting devices & adjusting clips.

hide/show detail view: cmd + alt + l

hide show detail view ableton live shortcut how to

I like this one to reclaim some screen for looking over my track & making broad compositional changes.

toggle hot-swap mode: q

toggle hot swap mode ableton live shortcut

hot swap makes it really easy to change out devices quickly. it's great how activating this will default the browser to the selected device's presets so you can trial different settings seamlessly.

hide/show info view: shift + ?

hide show info view ableton live keyboard shortcut

got a ? about an ableton feature? shift + ? opens up the info view which will give you a brief rundown on whatever you hover over. really handy if you're not sure about one thing or another. 

hide/show browser: cmd + alt + b

hide show browser OS X mac keyboard shortcut ableton live

as much as I love the browser, it does cost a lot of screen space. if you're not using it presently, it might be nice to free up some more space to view your arrangement. 

hide/show overview: cmd + alt + o

ableton live shortcut hide show overview mac osx

almost everyone I've seen use ableton for the first time get's confused by the overview. they learn to navigate/zoom their project by dragging on the time ruler & then get put off by the inconsistency. what happens is they click the overview expecting it to be the same as the time ruler & this leads to confusion. another problem you might run into with the overview is if your project is massive - it'll start to overstay its welcome & take up far too much  screen space. whatever the reason, it's nice to know the overview can be hidden.

hide/show in/out: cmd + alt + i

hide show in/out ableton live keyboard shortcuts mac osx

depending on your production style, the in/out can be everything or completely useless to you. as you've probably figured out, I'm a big fan of freeing up my screen whenever I get the chance so if I'm not doing anything writing-wise I like to hide this section.

hide/show mixer: cmd + alt + m

hide show mixer ableton live keyboard shortcuts mac osx

I love expanding my mixer to take advantage of the "peak level" button & to have granular control over my fader. the compromise is that, with it so big, you can't really see an overview of your scenes. I prefer to switch on & off the mixer depending on what my focus is, rather than dragging it up & down.

show/hide sends/returns: cmd + alt + s; cmd + alt + r

show hide sends returns ableton live keyboard shortcuts mac OS X best

sends & returns are extremely useful but if you use a lot of them they can quickly take over your screen. use these shortcuts to see them when you need to & hide them when you don't.

open the preferences: cmd + ,

there's a lot inside preferences, & some things you may want to adjust on the fly like zoom, buffer size, & midi device functionality. I've worn out my comma key by this point with all the times I've opened up the settings mid-project.

close window/dialog: esc

close dialog ableton live keyboard shortcuts mac OS X how to